Quiztix teams up with BBC on Comedy Genius

geniusQuizTix and BBC Worldwide have have launched QuizTix: BBC Comedy Genius, an exclusive BBC comedy-branded quiz for mobile and tablet devices.

From comedy classics to the latest comedy sketch shows, the quiz lets comedy experts pit their wits against comedy fans via leaderboards in a bid to become the brains of British comedy.

There are 18 categories, including subjects such as Double Acts, Comedy Characters, Classic Sitcoms and Comedy Greats that are all available on iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as Amazon.

Founded in 2013, Quiztix is a London-based developer with a vision of creating a family of entertaining and educational quiz games. Quiztix was founded by Ian Masters, a BAFTA-nominated games designer and Albert Marshall, a lawyer and licensor who has worked for Sony PlayStation. The company received seed funding from Jensons Funding Partners in 2013.

“In all media, this type of ‘knowledge entertainment; is king. From Top Gear, to MasterChef and the more direct quiz shows, there is evidence that quiz games can appeal to a large market that goes beyond targeting traditional games audiences,” said Albert Marshall, Co-Founder and Commercial Director, Quiztix

Half of SMEs wait two months for invoices to be paid

invoiceThere are many injustices in business, but the one thing that is responsible for holding back entrepreneurship is the late payment of invoices.

It appears that the bigger the client is, the longer they take to pay and the smaller the business, the longer it takes to get paid.

A recent poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of FreeAgent reveals that one in eight micro-business owners in the UK has had to wait a year or more to get paid by one of their clients.

Moreover, 13% of micro-business owners said they had to wait for at least a year before a client had settled an outstanding invoice, while 46% said that they had waited two months or more to get paid by a client.

Other salient points of the report:

* 86% of micro-businesses that issue invoices said they had been paid late, while only 14% said they had never been paid late

* 31% of respondents said they wait for a month or more after their payment deadline has passed before chasing up an unpaid invoice

* Only 28% said they would chase an invoice within the first week after it was due

The research, which surveyed more than 500 micro-business owners/sole traders and was carried out to mark FreeAgent’s £1 million crowdfunding drive through Seedrs.

“We know that it can be awkward to chase clients and ask them for money, but if you don’t follow up with late payers from the moment that their invoice is overdue, they may not see the urgency in paying you. And that means you may be stuck waiting for months – or in extreme cases even years – to get paid what you’re owed,” said Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent.

On a personal level, and with hands firmly placed on wood, I am yet to be stitched up by a client or somebody who has commissioned me.

I am wired to call the accounts department the first hour after an invoice is late and am happy to shame these so-called clients on social media if they continue to stonewall me. It is in everybody’s interests for everybody to do the same.

Palringo doubles revenues to $14 million through games

palringoRapidly growing chat-based games company Palringo said it has 2014 annual revenues of $14 million, up 100% from 2013 revenues of $7 million.

Based in London’s Shoreditch, Palringo has more than 35 million global customers, a figure that is rising one million per month as the business model of playing games within messaging platforms takes hold. Out of that $14 million revenue, 85% was from games, of which the profit margin was 50%.

Palringo offers a range of games along with more than 350,000 groups, some of which have up to 2,000 members. The business model is based around selling virtual products such as rich media sticker packs, Bots and functional utilities within the messaging platform.

The company’s move into games came in Q2 2013 when it acquired Swedish social and mobile games developer Free Lunch Games when internal data revealed that the most popular groups across Palringo’s communities were based around game titles such as Clash of Clans. It was also a neat strategy to differentiate itself from the better-known messaging platforms of SnapChat and WhatsApp.

“Gaming has always been a dominant theme within Palringo communities. Over the past couple of years, we have developed that trend by creating games that work within the community directly and more recently by building an innovative gaming capability that allows us to further develop our model of bringing together community and gaming on mobile,” said Tim Rea, Palringo CEO.

A typical example of a game inside Palringo would be the traditional game of Hangman. Customers buy the Hangman bot, and launch it in a chatroom of their choice. The company sells packs of ‘coins’, (for example, 300 for $3) and this currency is used to play the game with their chatroom friends.

Meet the modern open-source toys – The Offbits

offbitsThese four fine creations that have been superimposed on the Abbey Road zebra crossing are The Offbits, an open-source toy that the customer makes for measure. The Offbits come in a small and cool cardboard box and are a medley of springs and cast metal that are assembled by hand.

For somebody who finds it difficult to change a lightbulb, let alone a fuse, it took me some time to get to grips with the Offbits, but succeed I finally did. Then I swapped a few colours and pieces around and had a lot of fun… as did my 11-year-old son.

While I couldn’t stop thinking about the Smash Martians, the extraterrestrial heroes of a 1970s TV potato ad, the Offbits are modern and alluring. The company behind them is raising funds on Kickstarter next month – might be worth a small investment.

From analogue Madchester to digital Manchester

haciendaIt is almost 30 years since something started coming out of Manchester. I remember the point it went mainstream about 1988 when I was up there with friends. ITV showed a fantastic video of the drugged-up Happy Mondays around 1.30am. Nothing scheduled, they just decided to broadcast it.

A personal Summer of Love followed. A despatch-rider all week in London, park the bike at Euston station and up to Manchester on the 6pm train. A few beers, picked up by mates, down the Red Lion in Wythenshawe, then Afflecks Palace for some shopping on Saturday morning, a City game at Maine Road, the Hacienda until God-Knows-What-Time the next morning, back at the Red Lion for lunch followed by football in the park, some jazz at the Newcastle Steam Brewery, then back to London on the midnight milk train, ready to call in for work at 7am. Happy, happy days, even happy Mondays if you get my drift.

Much has changed in these three decades. While London is now almost free of despatch-riders because of technology rendering most expensive deliveries obsolete, Manchester has struggled to keep up with London’s ascension as one of the major technology hubs in the world.

But that may finally be set to change with the launch of a new digital festival in the city, highlighted by the Innov8 Startup Award sponsored by Google and UKFast. The festival launches on May 7th and positions itself as ‘the coolest tech festival in Europe’ covering digital, tech, ecommerce, startups, mobile, video, advertising and gaming.

Moreover, in the spirit of the old Madchester days, the typical conference schedule will be broken up by live acoustic performances and DJ sets. Probably no sign of the Happy Mondays or other sundries, but you never know.

I’m going to speak there as well as Martin Bryant, Editor-in-Chief at The Next Web and many others and the Innov8 Startup Award should be an interesting competition to see how evolved the Manchester tech scene has become… the prize package includes £100k of Google cloud credit and an exclusive support package with ongoing mentoring from industry experts.

“The event is the perfect stage to showcase the launch of the Google Developers Startup programme. I’m sure it will be a great event and I hope the first instalment of an impressive future going forward”, said Rupert Whitehead, Developer Relations Programs Lead, UK, Ireland and Nordics at Google.

“We are still an unfunded startup, reaching this point through hard work and passion, without a penny in the bank. To gain the backing of the world’s biggest brand proves that if you have the right team in place and never stop following your dreams you can achieve anything. This is going to rock Manchester and change the face of the digital landscape in the city forever,” said Jonathon Cadden – Founder, Business Rocks and organiser of the festival.

In its heyday, Madchester made the front cover of Time magazine and for a few heady months was the coolest place on the planet. Perhaps those times will come again now that the city is hugging the digital revolution as strongly as ‘refreshed’ clubbers used to do to each other at The Hacienda.

Ah, memories… in the corner of my mind.